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Automation of power systems is gaining momentum across the world, and there is a need to expose graduate and undergraduate students to the latest developments in hardware, software, and related protocols for power automation. This paper presents the design, development, and commissioning of an automation lab to facilitate the understanding of substation automation (SA). The laboratory has relay intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) that support IEC 61850 protocol, a universal secondary test kit for testing the relays, a protocol converter that can be programmed and can handle a large number of power automation protocols, a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) clock for time synchronization, and all related software. In this paper, the retrofitting of the latest relay IEDs with the existing control center software has been demonstrated. The commissioning process and the experimental setup of the SA laboratory have also been described. A post-training evaluation emphasizes that the student learning experience is helping students to gain a better understanding of the theory and to have better career prospects in power automation. The SA laboratory, which demonstrates all aspects of substation automation, is being used extensively for research and training in this emerging field.
Date of Publication: May 2011